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The Surfaris celebrated the 50th anniversary of their iconic surf song “Wipe Out” at the Belly Up on July 17. Bob Berryhill, the co-writer of “Wipe Out” — at the age of 15! — is the only original member of the group still preforming. Berryhill is accompanied by his wife of 42 years, bassist Gene. (She has a stance/style of playing like Dee Dee Ramone.) Their oldest son Deven plays rhythm guitar, with youngest son Joel on drums and lead vocals.

With only two big hits to the band's name, 1963's “Wipe Out” and the single's original A-side, “Surfer Joe,” the set started with two of Berryhill's early influences, both reverb-distorted guitar instrumentals, 1959's “Sleepwalk” by Santos & Johnny and the 1960 British hit “Apache.”

Along with several covers of Dick Dale, Eddie Cochran, the Kingsman, the Trashmen, and the Ventures, two songs were performed from the band's new CD. The CD contains eight new songs, as Berryhill put it: “It’s what the Surfaris would have sounded like if Decca Records didn't tell us what to play on our first album.”

With Berryhill's 65-year-old fingers flying over the frets of a Stratocaster or Jaguar guitar, pumped through tube-powered 1965 Fender amps, the recognizable sound was pure 1960s SoCal surf dance, taking one back to the Pavilion Ballroom on Balboa Island, El Monte's Legion Stadium, or the beach band shell at the Oceanside Pier.

  • Concert: the Surfaris
  • Date: July 17
  • Venue: Belly Up
  • Seats: General admission
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